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Exploring the area around Hay on Wye

Published on 27 Aug 2020 by Gwion Llwyd

We were delighted to take on our first holiday cottage near Hay on Wye earlier this season. Join us there to explore the beautiful borderlands of south east Wales. But first, how about we introduce you to the cottage itself?

Derw Offa is a splendid four-bedroomed holiday cottage which offers luxury accommodation as well as bags of space and character. It sleeps up to eight guests and two well behaved pets, and is perfect for a family break or a getaway with a group of friends.

The house dates to the 16th century and is a former county inn. It has been lovingly restored to preserve its character and history, and exposed beams, oak floors, and oiled wooden doors give the place a lovely solid warmth. Outside, it has a large, enclosed garden, with patio, lawns and bbq areas.

Hay on Wye

You’ll find the cottage in the small village of Newchurch, around seven miles from Hay on Wye. Close to the England / Wales border, Hay is perfectly placed for exploring Herefordshire, the Wye Valley, the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacon National Park.

Hay is well known for its many bookshops, second-hand bookshops and antique shops, and for the Hay Festival which draws art and literature fans from all over the world for an annual event every spring.

As well as the many opportunities to buy books (there are around 20 book shops in the town – it really is a bibliophile’s paradise) Hay is also home to some great independent shops, including clothes, jewellery, and gift boutiques, a great little record shop and local arts and crafts galleries.

The town’s market has been trading for over 700 years. Market days are usually Thursday and Saturday, and you’ll find an assortment of treasures including delicious local produce, artisan breads and cheeses.

There is also a ruined Norman fortress, Hay Castle, to explore, and some great cafés, pubs and restaurants  to fortify yourself with delicious eat and drink.

Clawydd Offa – Offa’s Dyke

Clawydd Offa – or Offa’s Dyke Path – passes right by the front door of the cottage. Offa’s Dyke is a 177-mile man-made fortification which follows the Welsh border from Chepstow in the south to Prestatyn in the north.

It was built by the Mercian King Offa in the 8th century and is now a spectacular walking trail. What would King Offa make of the fact that Lonely Planet now ranks it as one of the world’s greatest walking trails? We like to think he’d be pretty chuffed.

If you fancy tackling a section of Offa’s Dyke during your stay, Pandy to Hay on Wye is a favourite section of the path. The 18-mile hike starts with an early section of upland drama that takes you into the Black Mountains on the Hatterall Ridge. It’s a heart-pumping climb, but you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking views across the Brecon Beacons and the beautiful Welsh borderlands.

Action and adventure in the Wye Valley

The Wye Valley is the ideal holiday destination for anyone who loves being active in the outdoors. It is surrounded by rolling countryside, forests, mountains, rivers and valleys.

As well as very pleasant walking, this peaceful, rural part of Wales is excellent biking and horse riding country. There are dozens of off-road bridleways and quiet country lanes to explore.

The River Wye was once an important commercial waterway, and the Wye Valley remains a big draw for anyone who loves getting around on the water. There are plenty of places where you can hire canoes, kayaks and paddleboards for guided or self-guided tours, and boat tours operate up and down the river too.

All that activity should come with its rewards, and you might be pleased to know that you’ll find plenty of country pubs and nice places to eat near the cottage. Derw Offa is around three miles from the nearest pub, and seven miles to the nearest shops and restaurants at Hay. Sound like a place you’d like to explore more? Book your next staycation at Derw Offa near Hay on Wye.

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